A golden jubilee of celebrations will be held at Te Puia and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute as it celebrates 50 years since the legislation which formally combined them.

A VIP dinner, Movies in the Pa Festival and Christmas Carols are among the events planned to mark the anniversary. However, the highlight is expected to be Show Bands in the Pa, which will celebrate the musical legacy of Te Arawa by combining the best of the Maori showbands era with contemporary artists and arrangements.

Titanium, which features former Rotorua Boys' High School head boy Jordi Webber, have already been confirmed for the November 30 event, as has Ria Hall.

The Institute was originally formed in 1926 and combined with tourism in Rotorua's Te Whakarewarewa valley in 1963. The legislation was developed largely through the auspices of prominent Maori politician and lawyer Sir Apirana Ngata. One of his descendants, Lance Ngata, is now a carver and project manager at the Institute.


Te Puia chief executive Tim Cossar said the collaboration of tourism and cultural development first outlined in 1963 was even stronger today, with two distinct brands, Te Puia for the tourism activities, and the Institute for cultural perpetuation and development.

"Although much has changed here over time, the commitment to the legacy of guiding and to the protection and perpetuation of our ancestral beliefs, art forms and traditions has remained constant," he said.

"We are proud of our legacy of manaaki (hospitality) and we remain committed to caring for our unique physical and cultural environment."

Mr Cossar said Te Puia and the Institute remained a local, tribal, national and international icon and the 50-year milestone was an opportunity to reflect upon its achievements and legacy.

"We have a lot to celebrate. Our people have welcomed and guided visitors through Te Whakarewarewa for more than 170 years and have acted as kaitiaki (guardians) since long before that.

"Our 50-year celebration events have been developed as an invitation to New Zealanders to revisit our iconic valley, to relive what may be childhood memories and to create new ones for the future. At the same time, these events add a whole new experience to our international manuhuri as they will be part of something very special."

Leading up to the milestone, visitors will also be able to watch the replicated carving of a historic waharoa (entranceway). Other restoration and carving work will also be undertaken , including at the Te Aronui a Rua wharenui (sacred meeting house) and its pataka - a richly carved storehouse used to store the taonga (treasures) of chiefs.